What to Do With a Spare Room: 5 Ideas

Peter Chambers

Dec 9, 2022

what to do with a spare room

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Do you have a bit more house than you currently use? If so, you are among the fortunate. Why not celebrate your plenty by putting that extra space to good use? 

The only limit to how you use your home’s interior is your creativity. However, sometimes you need some prompting to get those juices going. Are you ready to renovate that extra space? Here are five ideas for what to do with a spare room. 

1. Airbnb or VRBO

It never helps to reel in some sweet extra moolah, even if you’re financially comfortable. Why not put your spare room to use as an Airbnb or VRBO? You could meet countless new friends and rake in extra cash, especially if you live in a tourist location. 

Please don’t think that a single spare room won’t attract guests. According to Airbnb, any space or unique configuration can work if you disclose the essential property features to prospective visitors. For example, let them know if they’ll need to pass through shared living areas and the expectations for using such spaces, if so. 

Then, prepare your spare room for guests. Add clean sheets to the bed and include toiletries like soap, shampoo and toothpaste. Little extras, like wine or chocolate, make visitors feel special. 

The beauty part is that you don’t have to list your space for rent every day. If you work from home and prefer only weekend guests, that’s possible. If you’re heading out of town, you can unlist your property while you’re away. 

You also control how much you charge for the use of your space. Play around a bit and be patient, listening to feedback from former guests — it may take a little to find your sweet spot. Keep the following expenses in mind when setting your price:

  • Insurance: You need a solid homeowner’s insurance policy to protect you against damage and liability.
  • Service fee: Airbnb charges 3%.
  • Taxes: You’ll have to pay income taxes on your revenue from your rental. 
  • Utilities: Your guests will use your HVAC system, water and electricity.
  • Cleaning fees: One downside of hosting is the cleaning. Include the cost of a service or pay yourself a fair wage.
  • Emergencies: Your guests expect your plumbing and AC to remain in working order during their stay. Ensure you have a way to cover emergency expenses that may arise.

2. Crafts Center 

Do you live for scrapbooking or knitting? Why keep your yarn in a basket in the living room unless you enjoy your kitties making a mess of the string? Instead, convert your spare room into a crafts center. 

Your remodel should make the best use of your previous project. Why not transform your spare room into a miniature gallery where you display the fruits of your talents?

3. Home Office

Did your temporary pandemic telecommuting situation become permanent? Working from home has multiple advantages like saving gas — and emissions — and having a better work-life balance. 

However, distractions can destroy your productivity, especially if you use your kitchen table as your workspace. Instead, why not convert your spare room into the home office of your dreams? It doesn’t matter if you want a grand mahogany table with a leather chair or a minimalist setup with a standing desk. You are your own HR department and interior designer — let your creativity run wild. 

4. Workout Space

Do you want to get in shape but find gym memberships too cumbersome? Why not convert your spare room into a workout space? 

You get to select whatever equipment you want. Resistance bands and hand weights cost relatively little, although you might want to add more expensive pieces like a treadmill or an elliptical. It’s also smart to book a few sessions with a personal trainer, especially if you’re a novice. You’ll reduce your injury risk and learn some new tricks to help you break through plateaus.

5. Expand Another Room 

Does your king-size canopy bed leave you little room to maneuver in your bedroom? If your spare room is adjacent to another space you’d like to enlarge, check to ensure a load-bearing wall doesn’t separate the two. If not, get out your sledgehammer and swing away, Merrill, swing away. 

Are you one of the many considering multigenerational living? If so, you might use this approach to put in a mother-in-law suite. For example, you could knock out a wall between a master bedroom with a bath and an adjacent spare room to build a small living area and kitchenette.

6. Shelter Someone in Need

Although it doesn’t get a lot of press, there’s a housing crisis in America. Financial experts recommend that rent costs not exceed a third of your income. However, when the average 1-bedroom costs over $1,500 and the average wage is less than $20 an hour, many single individuals can’t afford a roof over their heads. 

However, you can bring in a reliable monthly income supplement and help someone by converting your room to a long-term rental. Doing so offers an appealing alternative to the Airbnb route. While you may not make as much money, you won’t have to manage the house cleaning — your tenant should wash their sheets and vacuum the rug. Furthermore, you’ll establish a closer relationship and build more trust than you would with random strangers. 

Please ensure you screen your tenants well to avoid future headaches. Interview each prospect in person instead of merely looking at their financials. Some people can make themselves look good on paper, even providing false income statements and references, then stiff you on the rent. Someone with a few credit blemishes but honestly addresses these issues is probably a better bet. 

What to Do With a Spare Room

You’re fortunate if you have more house than you need. What will you do with your extra space? 

Consider the five ideas above for what to do with a spare room. You can enhance your property and improve your overall quality of life. 

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